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Does your air conditioner leak? Dripping or pooling water is something hardly any of us wants to deal with on a hot summer day. It brings to mind other unsettling questions, such as:

  • Will my air conditioner fail in the middle of the afternoon?
  • Will I have to leave my home to be comfortable?
  • How much is the air conditioner repair going to cost me?
  • Why does my air conditioner have water in it, anyway?

The short answer to “Why is my air conditioner leaking?” is that something has gone wrong with your air conditioner’s water handling system.

The long answer depends on which part of that system has failed and why. If you live in or around Janesville, WI, a trained and qualified air conditioner repair technician from Rock Valley HVAC can diagnose your problem and offer solutions.

These tips can help you figure out whether your leaky air conditioner is a simple nuisance or a serious problem.

What Is Condensation, and Why Is It on My Air Conditioner?

To understand why your air conditioner is leaking water, think about condensation. Water that leaks from the air conditioner originally comes from the air. If it is leaking, that means the water formed through condensation isn’t going down the drain as it should.

 Condensation is simply water that comes out of the air. The air can contain a surprising amount of water. You can feel it on hot, humid days.

The main job of your air conditioner is, of course, to keep your air cool. When you lower the temperature of the air, it holds less water.  The excess fluid leaves the air through droplets called condensation.

The fluid is simply ordinary water. It is not dangerous. However, if it leaks onto your floors, walls, or anything else in your house, it could cause damage.

The presence of condensation is a potential warning sign that your air conditioner needs repair. Sometimes, water can build up in unusual ways if a part of the system isn’t working right. It’s important to investigate the source of the water to determine if your HVAC unit needs repair.

Problem #1: A Frozen Evaporator Coil

why is my air conditioner leaking

If the cooling system at the core of your AC unit isn’t working properly, it can cool the air too much. Overcooling causes the evaporator coils to freeze, and ice builds up on the coils. One of our professional technicians from Rock Valley HVAC will be able to determine if ice is forming on your evaporator coil.

The buildup of ice eventually causes the evaporator coil to stop working. Once it is no longer cooling the air, the ice turns into water and drips from the evaporator coils in the form of leaks.

A freezing air conditioner is often a sign of potentially serious air conditioner problems. If something is preventing the cool air from getting where it needs to be, the evaporator coils can become too cold. This overcooling could happen for several reasons.

  • A low refrigerant level
  • Clogged air filters
  • A problem with the evaporator coils

The best way to repair this problem depends on the cause of the excess cooling. Our Rock Valley HVAC technicians can quickly and professionally inspect your system to identify and repair the problem.

Problem #2: A Leaky Drain Pan

The drain pan is part of your AC system that lies under the evaporator coil and collects the water that drips from the coil. If the drain pan is cracked, rusted, or broken, water will leak from the pan, potentially causing water damage to your home

Fortunately, the solution is often simple: Install a new drain pan. The new pan must be the right dimensions and be installed correctly. That way, it will be positioned correctly to catch condensate and divert it to the drain pipe.

Problem #3: A Blocked Drain Pipe

Sometimes the answer to “Why is my air conditioner leaking?” isn’t the air conditioner at all. When condensation forms in your air conditioner, the drain pan should send the fluid down the drain. Leaves, ice, or other obstructions sometimes block the drain pipe, however.

If the drain pipe, also called the condensate drain line,  gets blocked, the draining fluid has nowhere else to go. It backs up until it finds another way out—which leads to a leak.

If you find that your drain line is blocked, you don’t need to call an air conditioning repair technician. Instead, call a plumber to break up the clog, ice dam, or other obstruction in the drain pipe. If there has been a lot of water damage, you might need to call in a professional water damage remediation specialist.

Problem #4: A Broken Condensate Pump

In many air conditioning systems, the condensate liquid drains into a pipe in the floor, as we discussed above. Alternatively, a condensate pump might be part of the system. The condensate pump pushes the condensation against gravity so that it can exit your home through a pipe that is higher off the ground than the evaporator coil.

If the condensate pump fails, water cannot make its way up to the drain pipe. It backs up from the condensate pump and leaks out. When this happens, it might be necessary to replace the condensate pump.

Air Conditioning Service and More with Rock Valley HVAC in Janesville

Even if your leak is due to a plumbing problem, your air conditioning unit still needs regular maintenance. Be sure to call an air conditioning company, such as our team at Rock Valley HVAC, for routine maintenance on your AC each spring to make sure that your air conditioning system is ready for the summer season.

With these tips on hand and Rock Valley HVAC by your side, you won’t have to wonder, “Why is my air conditioner leaking?” any more. We’ll check refrigerant levels during our maintenance visits, clean filters, and replace parts as needed to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. We also repair and install furnaces, boilers, mini-splits, and thermostats.

For professional air conditioning repair by Rock Valley HVAC, contact us at (608) 496-9993 in Janesville, WA, for a consultation or emergency service. A professional technician will be out to your home as soon as possible.

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